COUPLE’S LUCKY ESCAPE –
Fire rages downstairs as Ada, Luigi sleep
ST MARYS couple Luigi and Ada Zarilli say they were minutes away from death before the sound of breaking glass alerted them to a fire in their house.
The fire caused up to $100,000 worth of damage.
Last Wednesday, Mr Zarilli went about his normal bedtime routine, including brushing his teeth in the downstairs bathroom, at 10.15pm.
Not long after, the couple was outside their house as a fire gutted their garage, laundry and the same bath- room Mr Zarilli had used to brush his teeth.
Mr Zarilli, 83, said he and his wife, 77, retired to their second-floor bedroom at 10.35pm “and a quarter of an hour after that, the television went off; I thought there must be too much wind for the antenna”.
“After 10 or 15 minutes, we heard some more loud noises,” Mr Zarilli said.
“It was a boom, boom, boom.”
Then Mrs Zarilli heard glass breaking. “Windows were cracking and there was a lot of noise – it couldn’t just be wind,” she said.
As Mr Zarilli walked down the stairs to check on the noise, he saw smoke from the bottom floor.
“Then I opened the front door and saw fire coming out of the front of the garage,” hei said.
A neighbour had arrived home around the same time, after a night out at the foot-
We were lucky to be alive because our bedroom is above the garage. If we just went to sleep, we’d be dead. Just a couple of minutes later and the fire might have reached us. Ada Zarilli
ball, spotted the fire and called triple-0 to alert Fire & Rescue NSW. The emergency service arrived quickly and put the fire out.
Mrs Zarilli said: “We were lucky to be alive because our bedroom is above the garage.
“If we just went to sleep, we’d be dead.
“Just a couple of minutes later and the fire might have reached us.”
It isn’t known what started the fire and police are not treating it as suspicious.
Mr Zarilli said they were told it might have been an electrical fire that began in the garage roller door motor — which is now a twisted wreck in their front yard.
“They can’t be sure what it is, but it’s something around the garage that’s electrical,” he said.
Despite the fire being put out quickly, it spread throughout the entire bottom-level garage, bathroom and laundry, blackening the walls and cupboards and turning everything else to ash.
The couple lost exercise machines, antique furniture, books, general storage, DVDs and old video tapes from the 1990s.
Mrs Zarilli said: “We are lucky it wasn’t worse.”
Despite losing those possessions, Mr and Mrs Zarilli were thankful for their lucky escape.
Mr Zarilli said: “If we didn’t hear the noise we would have suffocated.
“It just wasn’t my time, you see.”
Luigi and Ada Zarilli were lucky to escape a fire at their St Marys house and (right) the laundry was extensively damaged. Pictures: Carmela Roche